Planting Instructions for APS-24 and APS-40
1. Moisten approximately 3 quarts of finely milled soilless germinating mix with water until it feels slightly damp. We recommend our Germinating Mix (# 03-199). Place the Planting Tray (B) on a flat surface, then fill each cell with the moistened soil.
2. Firmly press the soil into each planting cell so that it will have good contact with the Capillary Mat below. If necessary, add more moistened soil to top off each cell.
3. Moisten the Capillary Mat (C) then lay it on the Pegboard Stand (D) with the mat extending over the unnotched end.
4. Place the Pegboard Stand (D) and mat in the reservoir (E), peg side down. Make sure the extended end of the mat is inside the reservoir. Fill the reservoir with water at the notched end of the Pegboard Stand. You can check the level of the water by looking into the notched opening.
5. Place the Planting Tray (B) on top of the capillary mat and stand, then lift it up again to make sure the soil has touched the mat under each cell. To ensure capillary action is established, the soil in the bottom of each cell must make contact with the mat. If the soil has not made contact, set the planting tray on a hard surface, firm the soil, then place the tray back on the Capillary Mat.
6. Plant one or more seeds into each cell following the seed packet instructions. Each cell is designed to hold one plant. Group seeds with similar temperature, moisture or light level needs in the same APS.
7. After planting, water the soil thoroughly from above and place the Greenhouse Cover (A) on top of the Planting Tray (B). Watering the soil from above ensures that the soil will have good moisture contact with the matting and continue to wick moisture from the matting to the germinating seeds. The cover will keep the soil moist and warm and help your seeds germinate quickly. Remove the cover as soon as your plants emerge.
Tips on Growing with the APS
Most seeds do not require light to germinate. But once they germinate, the seedlings need to be moved immediately to a good light source.
Indoor artificial lighting provides a constant, controllable source of light that is better than winter sunshine. Leave the lights on for 14 to 16 hours a day and keep the bulbs one to two inches from the seedlings by raising the lights as the plants grow.
If you do not use grow lights, place the APS in a large south or southwest window. Rotate the APS daily to help keep the plants from leaning toward the light.
Most seeds germinate best at a soil temperature of 70 to 80 degrees F. (This is not difficult if the APS is under warm grow lights.) After germination, most young plants grow better in cooler air temperatures (65 to 75 degrees F). This will help reduce legginess.
Do not use the Greenhouse Cover (A) in a heated greenhouse. Temperatures can reach 90 degrees F or higher which will dry out or burn your seeds and seedlings if kept covered.
The APS Water Reservoir will hold enough water to keep the Capillary Mat moist for about 5 days. Check the water level regularly. Add water through the notched end of the Pegboard Stand.
The mat should be damp at all times. If it dries out, thoroughly moisten the mat to reestablish the capillary action before replacing it under the growing cells. If the soil seems too wet, remove the mat for a couple of days so the soil can dry out.
To keep roots from growing into the capillary mat, lift the Planting Tray off the mat once or twice a week.
To ensure a constant supply of nutrients for your seedlings, a diluted solution of liquid fertilizer may be added to the water reservoir. Foliar fertilizers can be sprayed onto plant leaves to keep plants stocky and healthy.
Your seedlings should be hardened off slowly before they're planted in the garden. Do this by placing them outside for a few hours each day for 1 to 2 weeks, gradually increasing exposure to sunlight and wind.
When you are ready to transplant to the garden, remove the planting tray and turn the Pegboard Stand over. Place the planting cells on the upturned pegs, and use the pegs to push the plugs up and out of the cells.
Once you have transplanted your seedlings into the garden, you may want to plant a second crop of seeds and place the APS directly outdoors. The seeds will germinate quickly in the springtime sun and can then be transplanted into the garden.
Reusing the APS:
Wash your APS thoroughly with warm water to remove soil and other debris from surfaces. Soak the Capillary Mat in a diluted bleach solution and rinse in clean water. Store the entire unit away from sunlight when not in use.
Our APS units are ozone-friendly because they are made of CFC-free polystyrene. With careful handling they will last for several years.
If you have any questions, contact us at:
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